Volume 19 June 2012
Galleria Parking Revised Agreement
(May 8th 2012)
The city council voted to approve a revised agreement with the Galleria Parking in order to add more public parking, especially during nights and weekends. The galleria parking is mostly used by the tenants but public parking spaces were allocated in the original parking agreement. This new agreement lays down the terms of those spaces but still allows valet businesses to oversee the parking. The new agreement stems from the overcrowding of patrons in the downtown “entertainment district.”
Gainey Ranch to Add Nightlife to its Menu
The city council, with large opposition by nearby neighbors, approved a conditional use permit for The Downside Risk to have live entertainment. The bar/restaurant is located just South of an upscale neighborhood in Gainey Ranch and the residents there voiced their concerns over noise and property values. Councilman Littlefield, the only dissenting vote, agreed that this was a bad idea and the live entertainment should not be place by residential neighborhoods.
Portales to Add More Apartments to Scottsdale
In a five to one vote ( Councilwomen Lisa Borowsky recused herself) the city council approved another 369 apartment units on the northwest corner of Goldwater Loop, which is the area just north of Fashion Square. Residents opposed stated density and overcrowding, as well as traffic congestion on Chaparral Road, while proponents cited the need for more affordable housing and that people don't want to have the responsibility of home ownership anymore. Councilman Littlefield opposed the rezoning, citing overcrowding traffic issues.
Bond Special Election
The Council decided to postpone having a special bond election this November and instead pushed it to November of 2013, citing that voters need to be more informed about why we need to raise taxes to fund specific projects. The vote was 5/1, with councilman Littlefield dissenting and councilwoman Borowsky still absent.
Rates and Fees Increased
(May 15th 2012)
The council held a public hearing on proposed rates and fees for fiscal year 2012/2013, and voted to accept the increases as proposed by the specific areas such as water, sewer, fire, police, library, and such. The equine industry in Scottsdale was hit the hardest with substantial increases in almost all of the associated fees including rentals, stalls and overnight parking.
Although it was the public hearing, no one from the public came to speak except for Mr. Guy Phillips who opposed raising any fees during this economic downturn. The vote to increase was unanimous.
City Budget Cap Approved
The city council approved a 1.28 Billion dollar budget limit for fiscal year 2012/2013. This limit can be lowered, but cannot be raised after such approval. The budget was open to public comment but again no one came forth to expound on the increased limit except Mr. Guy Phillips, who asked the council to try to keep the budget under 1 Billion by trimming the fat off executive salaries andoverreaching bureaucracies within the individual departments of Scottsdale.
Optima Sonora Village to Increase Height
(May 22nd 2012)
The city council voted 6/1 (Littlefield Dissenting) to approve the applicants proposal to increase the height of their apartments from 7 stories to eleven. The applicants lawyer, John Berry, cited that theresidents of the nearby area were in approval, and many spoke for the increase. Councilman Littlefield explained that the increase in height is just another example of developers overreaching and adding to the re-characterizing of downtown and Scottsdale at large.
Area 31 to Get Access Road
Area 31, one of the last rural areas designated 30 years ago by then Mayor Herb Drinkwater, will get a access road to connect Jomax to dynamite. The road was pushed as an emergency access, but no stipulations were made to keep others from using the road./ There will be some lots that will have to be condemned and property owners compensated to allow this new access. Many residents who have live there for 30 years or more showed their disapproval and maintained that the area was to be left as it was, a highly rural area without major access. The road was approved 6/1 with councilwomanBorowsky recusing herself for conflict of interest.
Volume 18 May 2012
City Discusses General Plan
(April 3rd, 2012)
The Scottsdale City council, through the direction of Mayor Lane, agendized a discussion on creating a citizen task force to help staff understand how to better reach and include the residents in the next General
Many residents were there to voice disapproval, as this was not about residentshelping to create the plan, but rather to help staff with outreach.
After it was clear that this was the direction the mayor was heading, the City Council voted to continue the discussion at a later date so staff could come back with a more comprehensive approach to the next update.
(April 17th, 2012)
This council meeting was mostly about the new beach club that Triyar development proposed in downtown Scottsdale. It consists of over 21,000 sq ft of retail with a large public pool in the middle. Residents spoke out against more bars, noise and the lack of parking space.
After a short discussion about the parking, the city council voted to approve the beach club, with only Councilman Bob Littlefield dissenting.
Councilman McCullagh was absent at both council meetings.
(April 24th and 26th, 2012)
After starting almost a month late, the city council started working on the next city budget. Each department was given a chance to speak on their behalf, including fire and police, who are again being targeted for reductions. Public safety has been under athree year wage freeze, along with reductions in staff, and feel it is time to start givingtheir officers a competitive wage to keep up with other cities.
Other areas of local government also expressed needs that the city will have to take under consideration before a final budget is proposed by the city manager. The budget meetings will continue until May 15, when a city budget must be submitted to the state.
Volume 17 April 2012
Employee Compensation Gets Reviewed
On March 6th, the City Council agenda consisted of a review of employee compensation, retirees, and the way the city should formulate compensation in the future.
The staff and city manager will come back at a later date to present a strategy for fiscal year 2012-2013.
They also authorized a resolution to payout medical and dental contributions toretirees by using a one time $3 million transfer from the unreserved general fund and authorizing a $1 million transfer from Risk Management Self-Insurance Fund to the Health Care Reserve Fund.
Vice-Mayor Milhaven dissented, with Councilman Dennis Robbins absent.
Help has Arrived
On the Agenda March 20th was a neighborhood enhancement program, where a resident could get up to $5000 in City money to do outside repairs to their home.
The resident would not have to have a contractor, but would have to submit plans to the city for expense purposes.
The idea was to help residents who might not otherwise have the money to fix up their homes in “blight” areas.
The argument of whether or not residents would abuse this privilege lost to a 5-2 vote, with Vice-Mayor Milhaven and Mayor Lane dissenting.
Councilman McCullagh also added changes to the new fund, which would allow a resident to use this home repair credit more than once.
The total funding amount to be reserved is $50,000. Nothing was said about what happens when the $50 grand runs out, or if it is a yearly amount.
And Now, for the Really Big News
After years of negotiating and re-negotiating, the city council finally agreed to combine the Tony Nellsen Equestrian Center with the Barret -Jackson Auction in a newfacility at Westworld.
There was hardly any opposition, and this is a milestone in Scottsdale's legacy to bring the best of events to Scottsdale for the world to enjoy.
It wasn't easy, however. The council had to waive 3 financial policies, reverse a former resolution to provide $1.9 million for the project, authorize $2.1 million in carryover funds for construction period shortfalls, and issue and RFQ (request for quote) to obtain services of a Show Development Program consultant to Market Westworld during and after completion.
Still, it is this editors belief that in the long run, this will prove to be up there with the Indian Bend Wash as a major project in Scottsdale's history.
Vice-Mayor Milhaven was the only one dissenting.
Volume 16 March 2012
City Council Action for February 2012:
City Council Changes Mind
Blue Sky gets Amendments
Your city council was back in action Feb. 7th, deciding on a 4/3 decision to allow the Blue sky development on Scottsdale road North of Camelback to amend some of its criteria, including encroachment on the canal east of the site.
Councilman Bob Littlefield, along with Lisa Borowsky and Ron McCullagh voted no, citing over-reaching on the part of the developer.
Sky Song Gets a New Lease
The Council, in a 5/2 vote, gave a third amendment to ASU's Sky Song lease, allowing ASU to put off building the required retail for another 3 years, in exchange for the city getting payments of about $155,000 a year and releasing the lease on a city property that the city wants to sell to a third party.
Councilman Littlefield and Ron McCullagh dissented, saying that ASU should uphold their end of the deal and put in the retail as promised.
The new amendment also removes the caveat that the city can foreclose if payments are not made.
Dude Ranch Gets Go-Ahead From Council
On February 28th, the city council voted 6/1 to allow a developer up north to rezone his property to build a Dude Ranch. Called “Reatta Ranch”, the property was highly controversial because nearby residents and long time activists viewed this as an upzoning, and cited several reasons why the proposed project couldn't be built as stated by the developer.
The city council, after listening to over 50 residents and proponents decided to give the developer a “leap of faith” and passed it anyway. Only Councilman Littlefield voted no on this one.
Volume 15 February 2012
City Council Action for January 2012:
City Council Changes Mind
The new year started out with a bang as the city council seemed tense and contentious during the council meeting on January 10th.
First, there was a bond task force joint meeting, which discussed the current items the city wants to put on the bond election in November. No one was in agreement here, and the future should hold more meetings as the deadline for the actual bond proposals approaches in March.
Next, the City Treasurer gave a presentation on the current budget, and after an hour, left more questions than answers as to where the city would come up with the funds to operate in the years ahead.
Finally, at 10:00, the city council re-voted to bring back the roundabouts to Hayden and Northsight, despite objections by several folks from the airpark.
Five citywide engineers, and one from California, all showed up to convince the council this was the way to go.
On the 24th of January, the second council meeting found the council again unable to decide on a proper avenue to take regarding financial policies, and so decided to agendize a study session in the future.
Councilman Littlefield made an attempt to agendize a discussion on the timing of the Major General Plan Amendment Calendar, currently proposed for after the November election.
Volume 14 January 2012
City Council Action for December 2011:
On December 6th, the council approved on consent two sign free zones, one surrounding the Princess Resort area and Westworld, the other to include the downtown
This effectively eliminates the new sign ordinance passed by the Arizona Legislature that says any political signs may be posted anywhere in Arizona 60 days before an election.
Item 23, a rezoning in the Scottsdale Airpark near Hayden and Northsight was narrowly defeated by a vote of 4/3. The council members who voted in favor of
apartments in the airpark were Suzanne Klapp, Linda Milhaven, and Dennis Robbins.
The city also discussed removing Scottsdale from the League of Cities, but that was defeated and Scottsdale will continue its membership with annual dues of $12,000.00 the vote to continue was approved 4/3, with Jim Lane, Lisa Borowsky, and Robert Littlefield voting no.
On Dec 13th, the only regular item was a litter free zoning ordinance in the downtown “bar” area. The vote to approve was 6/1, with Robert Littlefield the only no vote. His reason was that littering is already an offense, and it really doesn't help the situation downtown.
The City Council adjourned for Christmas vacation until the next meeting January
Volume 13 December 2011
City Council Action for November 2011:
City Council approves SW Gas Franchise agreement with the city and puts it on the March 2012 special election ballot Approved 4/3, with Borowsky, Littlefield, and McCullagh dissenting for various plan details but not the agreement as a whole.
This agreement with the city allows SW Gas to charge a tax to its customers to pay for infrastructure repairs which will then be used to pay the city per the agreement. Until now, SW Gas has been charging customers this fee but without a contract with the city. If approved by voters in March, they will be approving a tax already imbedded in their bill.
The council also approved reducing three resident boards into one.The new board, Neighborhood Advisory commission, will replace the Housing Board, Enhancement Commission, and Scottsdale Pride. The remaining board members will stay in the new commission until it is reduced to 7 members by attrition.
The last agenda item was the dismissal of Airport Advisory Board member John Washington for what the Mayor called as insubordination on the part of Mr. Washington. John contacted the FAA in a recent rezoning to residential in the Scottsdale Airpark after the council approved the rezoning. The Mayor contends he did this to embarrass the council and get the FAA to restrict their funding to the Airport for violation of residential zoning agreement with the government. Mr. Washington stated that he only wanted to show that the FAA would not approve of the rezoning, which could severely hurt the Airpark and that he has no control over FAA decisions. He further contended that the FAA should have been notified before any rezoning in the Airpark was voted on.
The council voted to remove him from office in a 4/3 vote, with councilman Robbins, Littlefield, and councilwoman Borowsky dissenting.
No agenda items of major importance were voted on during this agenda, and staff did not schedule any more meetings for November
Volume 12 November 2011
Airpark Roundabouts Removed
On the October 18th City Council meeting, The contract for the Northsight Extension was pulled from the Consent Agenda at the request of Guy Phillips through Councilman Littlefield and put on the regular Agenda for discussion. After many public statements including over 160 emails to the council, the City voted to remove the roundabout portion of the Northsight Extension in lieu of the existing traffic signals. The Council voted 4 times before finally deciding to remove it. The final vote was 4-3, with Mayor Lane, Councilman McCullagh, and Linda Milhaven dissenting.
City Adds Residents to the Airpark
The City Council approved a rezoning for an area in the Scottsdale Airpark known as the Zocallo Residential Airpark Rezoning. This will allow for 240 apartments to be built on the site which opponents say is a detriment to the Airpark, as it is a business park and not a residential area. The vote was 6-1, with Robert Littlefield dissenting.
Western Museum Back in the Saddle
The city also voted to allow a portion of the cities' portion of the bed tax to be reserved to jump-start the Museum of the West, an idea that has been floating around the city for a while, but couldn't get traction. The unanimous vote will allow almost $700,000 to be put aside for the project.
City Continues to Add Residents to Airpark
During the October 25th council meeting, another residential rezoning was passed at the Crackerjax site for the possible building of 300 or more apartments just North of the Zocallo project. Despite testimony from concerned pilots and the airport commission report not to approve the request, the city council voted to allow the rezoning. The vote was 6-1 with councilman Littlefield the only Nay vote.
General Plan 2011 Approved
After two long contentious years, the General Plan update finally made it to the City Council October 25th. With a few revisions by the Mayor and staff, they agreed to approve the plan and send it to the voters in March 2012. the final vote was 5-2, with Lisa Borowsky and Robert Littlefield dissenting. Councilman Littlefield had asked the council to extend the vote until 2015 so there could be more citizen input, but his request died for lack of a second.
Airpark Roundabouts Reborn
At the end of the council meeting, councilwoman Susan Klapp asked the council to have staff come back with an agendized proposal before January for alternatives to the Northsight project-including roundabouts. The council agreed with a 4-3 vote, with Dennis Robbins, Lisa Borowsky, and Robert Littlefield dissenting.
Volume 11 October 2011
Make Way for Apartments
On September 13th, the City council approve the sale of 3.74 acres of city land that has been sitting idle to Mark-Taylor, a luxury apartment developer.
The vote to approve at a price of $1,220,000 was almost unanimous, with only Councilman Littlefield dissenting. Littlefield stated his reason for the no vote was that the land was worth more than the city is selling it for.
(Ed. Note: Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky has recently asked council to allow her to change her vote to No for the same reason. This will not affect the outcome of the vote.)
Resident Activists Get the Brush-Off
The City Council also voted 4/3 to shorten the terms of residents who sit on boards and commissions for the city, and added that they can be removed for no reason at any time.
The no votes were Mayor Jim lane, Councilwoman Lisa borowsky, and Councilman Robert Littlefield. All three were concerned about some stipulations, such as removal of office if any board or commission member files a lawsuit with the city.
City Council Gives Mixed Review of General Plan Update
Scottsdale City Council listened to an hour review of the new General Plan update last Tuesday. Among the concerns was Councilman Ron McCullagh who was troubled by the Way the plan allowed more development along the McDowell corridor.
Councilman Littlefild had nothing good to say about the update as well, and the Mayor did not like how developers were actually penalized for not pushing height and density, the opposite of the old plan. Councilwoman Milhaven expressed how well staff had researched and what a fine job they did, while the other two council seats, Klapp and Robbins, were silent.
The city council will vote on October 25th to ratify the new update, and then it will go to the public vote in March.
Volume 10 September 2011
Reach for the Sky!
After a month's vacation the city council returned on August 23rd. The agenda was limited, but a consent agenda item passed that allowed the Safari Hotel to revise its zoning to allow for more height and density.
Management Manages Itself
David Smith and Brent Stockwell, city employees, gave a presentation on a tiered system ofcompensation to upper class management after a fallout from the city manager's recent hiring of 5 new management employees totaling over $1 million in wages and compensation while reducing the staff by 5%.
Monopoles Back in Action
A concerned citizen, Chris Schaffner, petitioned the City Council to agendize a discussion on the use of combining monopoles in the city. The concern is that by combining the poles, some would have to almost double in size, standing out like a sore thumb across the city. The City Council decided by no vote to ignore his request.
For more information and to read the editorial, click on Newsletter at the top of this page
Volume 9 August 2011
To Our Readers: The Scottsdale City Council is on break from July 15th thru August 25th. However, that doesn't stop the government from working, so the following is not council action, but rather what the city has been doing for the month of July.
Downtown under scrutiny
Neighbors and businesses around Old Town Scottsdale are still up in arms about the noise and trash eminating from the Downtown Nightlife.
In the Arizona Republic, Councilwoman Borowsky said that the revenue was welcome, and that maybe the residents need to have better discourse with the bar owners, while Councilman McCullagh stated that the cost of policing downtown and it's surroundings is costing more than the revenue brought in by the bars. Local businessman Bill crawford, fed up with the inaction of the city leaders, is looking for the sheriff's posse to help mitigate the problems.
Meanwhile, the city was supposed to have special enforcement officers with noise meters patrolling the neighborhoods, but this has yet to be fullfilled, as the meters haven't even been ordered yet, and the officers will still need special training before they can begin.
Monopoles to become Monotowers
The city is looking at joining different wireless carriers on the same poles within 1/4 mile of each other. In order to do so, the poles will have to be taller, significantly taller, to address the required space between carrier nodules.
Residents of nearby monopoles are outraged that the city promised them height restrictions which they are now trying to bypass.
City seeks Fed dollars for roundabouts in Scottsdale Airpark
The City Council will vote in late September or early October to pass a tansportation proposal to significantly change the Scottsdale Airpark traffic routes. Among these changes are 4 double-lane roundabouts which transportation feels is a better alternative to streelights. They post better safety statistics and lower traffic congestion as well as less maintainance costs as the reasons to rebuild the intersections of Hayden and Northsight, Hayden and Raintree, Northsight and Raintree, and 76th and Redfield.
Business owners say they were not contacted or involved in the decision making process, although the city staff has said they made every effor to make local business a part of the decision.
The Scottsdale transportation department will receive about $17 million from MAG (Maricopa Association of Governors), a federally funded organization which contributed major funding for light rail, among others.
Volume 8 July 2011
Scottsdale finalizes budget for 2011/2012
On June 7th, the city council approved the 2011/2012 budget presented by city manager David Richert. Although this year's budget was contentious at times, with time running out, a compromise was agreed to that used funds from the unreserved General fund in the amount of $2.1 million to cover the shortfall, along with deferring expenses over the next several years.
The final budget was set at $ 1236.9 million, or $1.237 billion.
The final vote was 5-2, with Bob Littlefield and Lisa Borowsky dissenting for different reasons, but both agreed the new budget was contigent on favorable economic conditions which they believed could put future budgets at risk.
Westworld, Stagecoach Get City Go-Ahead
The city council approved the go-ahead on two major projects up north. The first, Westworld Multi-use Facility, was given the green light to continue negotiations with Greenbrier Southwest Corp to develop a multi-use facility by a vote of 6-1 (Bob Littlefield dissenting) and Stagecaoch Gap, a recreational firm, was also allowed to pursue negotiations with the city to lease and develop 80 acres of city land for a western theme parl. The latter vote was 4-3, with Littlefield, McCullagh, and Milhaven dissenting because of concerns over possible subsidies without guarantees of positive revenue.
City Manager Reviewed
On the 28th of June, the city manager David Richert, and City Treasurer David Smith were reviewed for last year’s performance. There were five public comments asking for the city manager, David Richert, contract to be terminated.
The residents also compiled over 300 signatures asking the same. After a short discussion by the council, the mayor, Jim Lane, made a motion to hold off making any decisions until after the summer break, to give them time to streamline a new contract for city employees.
Out of Time
Due to administration deadlines, the remainder of the city council meeting will be included in the August news. Ed.